Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Latino Studies 12:2 (June 2014), pp. 237–258.



Copyright © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. Used by permission.


Drawing from in-depth interviews with university-level transnational students in Mexico, we highlight these students’ resistance and agency in the face of US legal and educational policies that have marginalized them and other undocumented students. We also illustrate pitfalls and possibilities that students encounter in a Mexican system that has not anticipated their presence. The interviewed students viewed return migration for higher education in Mexico as a strategy that could allow them to access/develop their imagined identities as college-educated professionals and one day, legalized citizens of the United States. At the time they made their decisions, before Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, two students saw returning to Mexico as their best option for eventually becoming college-educated, US citizens and two others were trying to build their lives as global citizens. We conclude with a consideration of the implications of the existence of students like this for higher education and social policy in both Mexico and the United States.